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Thread: Cutting techniches for Laying biggish timber

  1. #1

    Cutting techniches for Laying biggish timber

    Alright folks, 1 for the arborists, woodcutters, hedgelayers or gardeners

    Over the past few years doing a bit of copice managment and also trying to 'Lay' some prob 30yr old willow and birch (generally 4-12" across butt and 20-30+ft tall) the idea being that if i lay a big tree should get 30ft of instant hedge/windbreak the way windblow trees grow.

    At the moment i'm making it up as i go along and not really sure which is the best way, i generally manage to leave the 'hinge' intact so the tree's do grow and do wot i wanted them to do but the butt's/cut looks bloody ugly, and just wondering if there is a correct way off doing it. I have looked at layed hedges and tried to do similar cut's but the size and wieght of the trees isn't helping.

    The 2 ways i found found to work best are sort off oppisate off each other

    1st way gub to the front but very open ie both top and bottom cut at an angle up/down, well throu the tree probably 3/4- 4/5 ish throu, looks quite tidy when i get it right but if the top/bottom's meet obivously the hings breaks which is exactly wot i don't want, on the bigger stuff been boring a flat face in to try an stop this but sometimes hinge breaks no matter even if gub not closed out. Basically folding the tree down to for a closed hinge/scar

    2nd way i've been doing it is either just a simple back cut or gub cut in back off the tree and pushing it over sort of 'barbers chair' type fashion as top end of cut kicks out, basically the oppisate folding tree to form an open hinge type scar. Looks bloody horrible but seems to work more often keeping the tree attached to the stump

    I was wondering if anyone has tried laying on such tall/old timber before and if there is an easy way that i have not thought off. (I should mibee say got a few saw/climbing tickets and reasonablly exp working with saws commercially just not had to do something like this afore)
    I also have some sikta to tidy up/climb/fell on a flushing point of a drive and would be ideal if i could find a way to lay the to to keep flushing cover green, trees prob 30+yr old but poor quality,prob around 10-18" at butt, if no ideas might actually try cutting some roots and dragging over with pick up

    Cheers in advance

  2. #2
    if you go on Arbtalk there are some members on there which do hedgelaying up to competition level as well as for a living they should be able to give you some good advice
    Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser

  3. #3
    Wow, never even knew it was possible to successfully lay something that size! Reading with interest!


  4. #4
    I wouldn't be too impressed alex it's not really 'laying' in the truest sense of the word.
    In fact looks more like some f**kwit has made a complete hash off felling some trees, but the previous ones i've done are still growing and it sort of works and even when it doesn't i just tidy up the stump and fold/lay the coppice growth in a few years time.

    Cheers keith, i just tried to sign up to the forum but it wouldnae let me Been caught out by a trick question- Wot does an arborist use to cut down trees? I've tried everything from spoon (thought it didnae matter) to saw, chain saw top handled/climbing saw, in various orders even tried a silky or nothing thinking it's a trick question. Wot a bloody numpty i feel, the questions they ask to get ur climbing ticket were easier than that! Away back to have some more random guesses

  5. #5
    I generally just cut the back of the tree and pull it over with a 360... Used to use a JCB before it died a death

    same as laying a quick hedge
    just go along nicking the back edge... Pull over with the 360 in a uniformed direction and manner ... Press bucket down on top to compact it a little then move on to the next section
    always pulling it to wards you and not pushing it over
    makes a neater job.... Then dress the sides and top up afterwards with a chainsaw
    job done
    neat and tidy ... With a 200 metre mature hedge layed in about 4-5 hours

  6. #6
    the second method is more likely to work as there is a greater amount of cambium left. the hinge method will leave a small amount of cambium at either side. the result (if it survives) will be weak/slow growth, which I suspect is not what you are after.

    have you got a good winch handy? maybe the best method is to "simulate" windblow. put the winch line high enough up the tree and you will have enough force to pull it over. just don't cut anything whilst the tree is under stain.... please! this aint gonna look pretty but have a look at any wind blown site after a year or two and see how much regeneration there is.

    forget trying to lay the spruce. the chances are they wont survive. fell them/pull them and find some natural regeneration and transplant them in to the gap left. failing that... 30metres of det cord and a cat D8....
    Big bloke... but outta shape

  7. #7
    What Ade said,

    More cambium the better. This is never going to look like the work of a craftsman when your laying trees this size. The best you can do is clean up the cut with the saw so water drains off, this will leave a large scare but so does a proper laying job.
    Pull the tree down slow and steady and most (not all ) will be ok.
    Forget the Spruce.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    dont think birch will take to well being layed, i will bleed badly to this time of year.
    or tring to lay to make a stock proof hedge.


  9. #9
    Cheers folks. I take it not many people really done this type off thing then

    Have been trying to leave as much cambium as possible as i realise the more the better.

    When using the first type cut (big open gub) i haven't been putting a back cut in atall so cambium is intact nistead off just the 2 sides like a proper traditional felling cut. The problems seems to be that the bark struggles to strech enough as the tree starts to get near the ground, sometimes it breaks but others u can just see it begining to pull apart. I am leaving as much uncut timber as i can so it is a real struggle to pull it down but i get there (no mechanical access) with a bit off brute force and iggnorance and a rope.

    With this cold weather tree's aren't budding yet but it is slightly later than i wanted to do it (busy at work) but i also thought the a little sap might make trees more flexible? Birch weren't weeping much at all which i was surprised about althou had 2 p***ing wet cold days which possibly helped.

    Not trying to create a stock proof hedge, just trying to create a windbreak plus a bit of low cover for pheasants, coppicing some of the wood anyway so not a big problem if it does break off. Round the wood edges some off the trees are overlapping in places whch is ideal but depends where the trees are and if i think they'll fold over some are just to big/tall come down to quick and snap

    Will have a we play with the sitka and experiment to see wot works, can see it being a lot off work pulling them over as will probably need to dig and cut roots on far side of plate also don't have much access to big machines so don't fancy pulling clutch of pick up, might try waiting for a p***ing wet week and have a go when stems are full off water. I often think hinges hold better in wet weather with soft woods (esp norway) think wood softer and more flexible.
    If the spruce die not a biggy either, planning to fell some and top others to hopefully give the birds some daylight but also force them up a bit, so will use tree for cover wot ever but be handy if it stayed living, but i think to big an ask really, will try thou

    cheers again and keep any ideas coming

  10. #10
    As you don't hav access to machinery
    then just back cut either straight or a slight angle just incase it splits and catches on the back edge
    but i would cut it as much as you need too so you can push/pull the trees over manually
    don't bother with a directional gob as that is the section you need intact and prevents it snapping off

    as for the Sitka or Norway cut a small front gob out slightly out of line to the direction you want it to fall in and then do a back cut untill the tree sits back on the bar
    from there you should be able to either push or rock the tree towards the gob and it should hang ... Slowly cut it so it falls and turns into your proposed direction... That way you keep as much cambium layer as possible otherwise if you keep falling it in line with your gob it is likely to snap off
    another tip is also snedd the branches up as high as possible on the front face once in the hanging position so they don't cause the tree to kick back on hitting the ground and break off

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